EPL Matchday 24 of 38; Leicester City shatter Liverpool’s title hopes; City march towards crown
EPL Matchday 24 of 38 report: Leicester City shatter Liverpool's Premier League title hopes as Manchester City march towards crown.
Leicester City 3, Liverpool 1 – King Power stadium
Brendan Rodgers' Foxes overcame their home venue jitters to beat the visiting Reds in an enthralling encounter at the King Power stadium on Saturday.
Liverpool dominated the proceeding in a barren first half but it was Leicester who came closest to scoring with Jamie Vardy missing out on two glorious chances to put his side ahead.
The first one was when he broke free on the left but his outer-foot lob over Alisson sailed over an empty net and a the second when he blasted one off the crossbar a little before the interval.
Roberto Firmino came closest for the Reds in the period when his volley was saved magnificently by Kasper Schmeichel from point-blank range. Another opportunity came the visitors’ way when a beautiful long ball from Jordan Henderson set Mohammed Salah through on goal, but the Egyptian was not able to bring the ball on to his stronger left foot and his effort ended tamely to Schmeichel.
Liverpool trying to break a run of two consecutive defeats found themselves ahead in the 67th minute when Firmino brilliantly back-heeled to an unmarked Salah inside the area for the latter to finish with a rasping left-footer.
The Foxes tried hitting back even as a 78th-minute penalty was over-ruled out by the VAR when Harvey Barnes was brought down by Thiago. A free kick at the edge of the box was awarded instead which James Maddison was able to get through past Alisson only to be ruled offisde.
But a VAR check once again allowed the goal to stand. The hosts nosed ahead on the back of a howler from Alisson. A searching pass from Youri Tielemans for Barnes caused created confusion between the onrushing Alisson and debutant center-back Ozan Kabak with the Brazilian keeper misdirecting his kick to a waiting Vardy outside the area.
The Leicester striker gleefully accepted the unexpected gift as he strolled towards the empty goal to tap in and make it 2-1 for the hosts in the 81st minute. The knife was turned deep into Liverpool's wounds as Harvey Barnes added a third for the Foxes 4 minutes later with a composed finish from the outstanding Wilfred Ndidi's pass.
The Reds title defense effectively came to an end with the 1-3 loss, their prospects of remaining in the Top Four, too, dimming what with Chelsea and West Ham getting ready to step into the space after their Monday night games against struggling sides Sheffield United and Newcastle respectively.
Leicester have gone a clean six points ahead of Liverpool now and are momentarily in the second place with 46 points from their 24 outings but still seven behind Man City's 53.
Manchester City 3, Tottenham Hotspur 0 – Etihad stadium
Pep Guardiola's City established their place at the top of the table when they swept aside a visiting Spurs side 3-0 at the Etihad stadium last Saturday evening.
Spurs found themselves at sea early on when Pierre Emile Hojbjerg brought Ilkay Gundogan down in the box after 23 minutes. Rodri coverted the resulting spot-kick even as Hugo Lloris went the right way but only succeeded in pawing his save onto the post and into the net.
Trademark counter attacks from Spurs were from far and few between as City dominated play in the first half. But Spurs were unlucky not to have gone ahead early with Harry Kane's superb free kick hitting the woodwork and rolling into the play.
City doubled their advantage in the second half when Raheem Sterling fed Gundogan a lovely ball into the box with the German just having to poke it home.
City goalkeeper Ederson had a hand in the third one as he launched a long pass up the field to Gundogan which the midfielder perfectly controlled before shoving off Spurs defender Davinson Sanchez and rolling in a grounder past Lloris for his second of the night in the 66th minute of play.
It was Gundogan's third brace in five games and 11th from his 12 appearances this season as City registered their 11th Premier League win on the trot.
Jose Mourinho's Tottenham who looked so good for a title till mid-December when they led the points table are now struggling to stay in the Top eight having conceded their fourth loss from their last five outings.
Spurs are presently on the 9th spot with 36 points from 23 games, behind Everton and Aston Villa both of whom have games in hand. City on the other hand look unassailable at the top with 53 points having played a game less at 23.
Results from other EPL games of Saturday, February 13th
- Crystal Palace 0, Burnley 3
- Brighton 0, Aston Villa 0
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